Top 3 Reasons Parents Should Be More Involved In Their Child’s Career Choice:

Congratulations!  You have done a fantastic job raising your son or daughter.  Now you’re preparing him or her for college.  For better or worse, they now need your experience and guidance more than ever.  Preparing for college has become much more complicated than a 529 Savings Plan, FAFSA and better than average ACT and Personal Statement.  It has become critical to begin implementing a strategic career- path plan as early as possible.  Failing to do so can cost more than time and money, it could result in a well educated, but underemployed and unfulfilled college graduate.

Not convinced?  Join me in this blog series to discover the top three reasons parents should become increasingly involved in your child’s career choice.  This blog series sheds a bit of light on the career-related challenges your college-bound child will face. The next series of blog articles offers strategies you can take to ensure your child will have a fruitful and meaningful career after college.


Top 3 Reasons Parents Can and Should Be More Involved In Their Child’s Career Choice:  

1.  “Good” jobs are not as plentiful as we are led to believe.

Recent economic events clearly demonstrate just how interdependent the leading world economies have become.  For example,  recent devaluation of the Chinese currency sent shock waves through our economy.  OPEC’s perceived value of a barrel of oil directly affects the cost of a tank of gas.  Or the willingness of the Euro Zone to bail out one of its’ partners has been shown to have a direct impact on the economy, pocketbooks and job rate here in the USA.1

In addition to worldwide economic fragility, despite what our government officials tell us, the US economy seems less resilient and robust as many experts report.  This economic sluggishness makes sense when one considers declining manufacturing jobs in the USA.  Remember the days when most cities had enough manufacturing facilities to offer a “living wage” job to anyone who wanted one?  These industries often employed hundreds or thousands of people?  Where have these jobs gone?  Unfortunately, we can’t place all the blame on “outsourcing”.   This is our new reality: technology and automation advancement means fewer people are needed to do “the work”.  Will this trend change?  Probably not.

So, why will this likely be the way of the future?…

For one, the advancement of robotic and computer technology is directly impacting the way in which we do our “work”.   This technology includes everything from smartphones to machines equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI).  These machines now have the capability to make “decisions” and take “appropriate” action.  In fact, machines are now performing the delicate and technical task of administering anesthesia to patients undergoing surgical procedures.  (Incidentally, this directly impacts my profession…Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia.)  Do I feel my career is becoming threatened by the introduction of “smart” anesthesia machines equipped with AI?  Not yet.  Should my children question Anesthesia as a profession?  Perhaps.  Smart Anesthesia Machines is just one example of how, just a decade ago, we could not imagine the extent to which technology can remove the “human factor” from work, even highly technical work.

In the BBC World Service report, The Inquiry:  What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs?, Tech journalist, David Baker makes a profound statement….

“The advancement of technology could someday cause us to live an amazing Utopia, OR we may exist in an amazing Dystopia” (think…The Hunger Games or Divergent).2

The choice is ours, dystopia or utopia.  Regardless of the way our society copes with the advancement in technology, this fact remains…The good ole’ days when most people work a single “9 to 5” job are fading.   The gold watch after forty years of dedicated service will soon be a thing of the past.  Since most of us will eventually be forced to “piecemeal” a career from several sources, it’s now critical we begin to learn to transition to a “freelance” mindset.               

Finally, what about the unemployment or under-employment rates?  If we are to believe our government officials, it’s actually looking quite rosy “out there”.  At the time of this writing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate is at a seven-year low of 5.3%.3  However, these unemployment rates do not seem to reflect what is truly happening “out there”.  We’re ignoring the current under-employment rates.

There is no denying the job climate has become more challenging for recent college grads.  Therefore, recent grads are finding it increasingly difficult to “launch” from the loving arms of their parents.  The delayed launching is due to a combination of sky-high student loan debt, ultra high living expenses, fewer jobs, and relatively low entry-level income.  Unfortunately, these hardships are becoming the norm.  In fact, among friends of my college age kids, the delayed launch or failure-to-launch is becoming the expectation (truth be told…this includes two of my three children).  It’s a tough job market “out there”, especially for new grads.

What about under-employment? It seems the “cat was let out of the bag” regarding the real effect of under-employment in the USA.  Gallup Poll Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton offered a plausible explanation for why the job market continues to slog along and why under-employment is so pervasive.           

Upcoming posts in this series:

2.  The increasing cost of college tuition does not always allow sufficient time for “career exploration”.

3.  At ages 17 to 19, most kids are simply not prepared to make a well informed “career choice”:  THE decision that will impact them for the rest of their life.